My publishing journey began in 2006 when I signed a two-book contract with a traditional publisher: Tyndale House in Chicago. I was writing what would later be called “edgy inspirational fiction” (a description I loathe for a variety of reasons) and racing headlong into an industry that I knew nothing about. My Cinderella story is something I don’t usually trot out and I have no desire to bore you with it here. Suffice it to say, I had no idea what I was doing, but I was happy. Crazy-happy. The giddy-happy of a not-yet-thirty-year-old girl who felt like her dream had come true. And it had: I was writing books for an audience and they were paying me to do it. Wait, what?
I didn’t have an agent. I didn’t have a career plan. No website, Facebook page, or platform. Nobody knew who I was. I loved words and I wanted to write books, but all the trappings of “author-hood” were completely unknown to me. I’ll never forget the conversation with my editor when Book Two (Summer Snow) had been delivered and it was time to discuss another contract. She (very nicely) told me that maybe it was time for me to get an agent--and then helped me navigate the waters of interviewing and choosing the right one for me.
Almost nine years later, it’s a completely. different. world. Shockingly so. I’ve authored eight books since the beginning of my publishing journey, but not even a decade into my career I feel like an industry dinosaur. I love my author Facebook page, but it’s mostly personal musings on life and motherhood, social justice and fashion. You know, the things that move me. I struggle to post about my books with any regularity or zeal. And Twitter is bewildering. I dabble in it when I’m compelled to try, but mostly I retweet and respond, berating myself in the interim for not being able to come up with 140 character witticisms in my spare time. (In case you don’t know me, let me assure you that I’m being ironic. I don’t have spare time. What I do have is a growing non-profit, four children--one with severe medical needs--who consume my heart and mind 24/7, and a “book-a-year” personal goal. What I don’t have is a personal assistant, bus service, or Molly Maid. The laundry that six people generate on a weekly basis is a freakin’ part time job. I mean, for the love.)
I would be a big, fat liar if I said I didn’t sometimes feel like I was drowning in this brave new world of publishing. Talk of tribes and target audiences, building my platform and networking leaves me flummoxed. Cold. It used to be about stories, you know? Good stories told beautifully by people who were hearts-on-fire about what they were writing. Now sometimes publishing feels like a tilt-a-whirl, an ever-changing landscape that flips so quickly I can’t keep up. I Tweet and blog and frequent Facebook and have an Instagram account and wish I was one of the “it” authors who didn’t have to try so hard...
But you know what? I’m still happy. I still love it. Like, crazy, uncontainable, soul-explodingly LOVE it. Writing is awesome and I know exactly how lucky I am to be dancing this wild jig. I may not be as graceful as some--as swift-footed or confident or bold--but I’m doing my thing and I’m loving every minute of it. I hope I get to do it for years decades to come.
(Little old me at ICRS in Orlando circa 2008)
This week I had the opportunity to step out in a new direction. After all these years of traditional publishing, I re-released one of my novels in digital format with the help of Browne & Miller Literary Agency Digital. The Moment Between is one of my favorite novels, a book that is dark and literary, but rimmed with hope. When it was released in 2009, I believe it fell between the crack of the inspirational and general markets. I’m hoping that releasing it digitally will give it new life. And I’m thrilled to be continually learning and adapting, eager to try something new in this mysterious industry that I still feel I know so little about. (Especially as The Beautiful Daughters, my upcoming release from Simon & Schuster/Atria is set to hit shelves in just over a week! How does this stuff happen?!?)
For a limited time, The Moment Between is being offered for only .99 cents. I hope you take the opportunity to check it out.
Thanks for reading! And hugs from me, still starry-eyed and in wonder after all these years.
Download The Moment Between: